Oct. 25, 2012
Asheville, N.C. - Western Carolina was tabbed third by the league's head coaches and second by the voting media in two preseason polls released today as a part of the league's Basketball Tip-Off event on Thursday. Also, redshirt junior guard Trey Sumler was named preseason first team All-Southern Conference during the same event held in Asheville, site of the 2013 SoCon Basketball Championship.
During Thursday's event at the Biltmore Estate, the league's head coaches met with local and regional media, as well as members of the local organizing committee and corporate partners for the annual SoCon basketball championship, the oldest post-season basketball tournament in the nation.
The preseason All-SoCon honor is the second in the career for Sumler who was dubbed freshman of the year back in the 2010-11 season, but was left off both the coaches' and media post-season awards list following the 2011-12 campaign.
Sumler, who started all 35 of WCU's games a year ago, returns as the Catamounts' leading scorer from a season ago, finishing second on the squad with a 13.5 point per game average - a mark that ranked 12th in the SoCon. He dished out a career-high 145 assists, posting three double-doubles including one with points and rebounds, and two with points and assists. Sumler suffered a broken finger at mid-season, but did not miss a game after undergoing surgery to put two screws to repair the injury. Sumler earned first team all-tournament team honors by averaging 16 points, 6.5 rebounds and five assists per game in WCU's run to the championship game. He played at least 39 minutes of all four games including a career-high 49 minutes in the double-overtime title game.
Sumler enters his junior season with 49 career double-digit scoring efforts, riding a string of seven-straight to end the 2011-12 season. With 851 career points, the Rocky Mount, N.C., native is just 149 shy of 1,000 for his Catamount career. His 244 career assists are just 87 shy of moving on to WCU's career top 10 list.
UNCG and Davidson were tabbed the preseason favorites to win the Southern Conference divisional men's basketball titles in 2012-13 by both the head coaches and media. UNCG claimed last year's North Division and returns four starters while Davidson, which returns 12 lettermen and all five starters from last year's tournament championship team, claimed the top spot in the south.
2012-13 Southern Conference Coaches Preseason Poll & All-Conference Team
2012-13 Preseason Media Poll
Reading into the preseason prognostications in the SoCon's North Division, there could be jostling for position all season as only two of the six slots were constant through the two polls - UNCG with seven first-place votes in the coaches' and 18 in the media poll selected as the favorite, and Appalachian State to finish fourth. The Catamounts and Elon Phoenix swapped the second and third preseason positions between the two polls with the coaches giving three first-place votes and second to Elon, while the media had nine first-place nods to WCU and second-place in their vote.
The bottom of the North Division was also flipped as Chattanooga was tabbed fifth by the coaches while Samford moved into a fourth-place tie ahead of the Mocs in the media vote.
In the SoCon's South Division, the two polls mirrored each other with College of Charleston finishing second to the Wildcats in both tabulations. Davidson got 11 of the 12 first-place votes from the coaches and 28 of the 30 in the media vote. Georgia Southern, which earned the other two first-place votes in the media voting, was picked third followed by Wofford, Furman and The Citadel.
South division teams dominated the 10-member preseason All-Southern Conference team as voted on by the league's head coaches. Davidson landed three players on the preseason team including league Player of the Year, De'Mon Brooks, Nik Cochran and Jake Cohen. College of Charleston put two on the team with Andrew Lawrence and Trent Wiedeman, while Eric Ferguson from Georgia Southern and Mike Groselle from The Citadel rounding out the South Division.
In addition to Sumler, North Division teams UNCG and Elon also put a player on the preseason team with Trevis Simpson and Jack Isenbarger, respectively.
Season tickets for Western Carolina men's and women's basketball are on-sale now through the ticket office in Cullowhee. Ticket packages start at just $75 for either men's or women's basketball, with the popular "All Hoops" package that includes season tickets to both men's AND women's games just $100 for adults and $55 for youth. Again this year, youth 12-and-under are admitted free for all home regular season games.
Thursday's tip-off event also marked the first day of ticket sales for the 2013 Southern Conference Tournament. Fans can purchase their tickets through the Western Carolina ticket office or the box office at the U.S. Cellular Center.
Call (800) 34-GOWCU or log onto www.CatamountSports.com to purchase tickets.